How my teachers made a positive impact on my life


Teachers play a significant role in shaping our lives. A great teacher can make a long-lasting impact on a child’s life long after they’ve left school.

Our educators share how their teachers positively impacted their lives.

SPARK Bramley Maths teacher, Annerike van der Merwe says she’s been lucky enough to have many dedicated and caring teachers throughout her schooling life.

Being true to yourself was one of the greatest lessons that Annerike learned from her English teacher. This vital lesson continues to shape her life up to this day.


Be True to yourself 

“She told me not to be bothered so much by the trends and what everyone else is doing. She told me to find what you love and make an impact on the world,” she says.

READ MORE: Why should I send my child to Grade R

Additionally, her biology teacher always made them feel important in her class.

“My Biology teacher showed us what it means to be kind and giving, through her daily actions. She has a way of motivating you to be your best!


The importance of reading 

SPARK Ferndale Assistant Principal Ntombikayise Gontyeleni’s English teacher had so much influence in her life.

“I had the same English teacher from Grade 8-10, Ms Sonia Katzenberg. She is, by far the best teacher I have ever encountered in my life. Not only was she an extraordinary English teacher with years of experience, but she was also the sweetest woman whose classroom was a safe space for many children,” she says.

Ms Katzenberg ignited the love for reading in Gontyeleni.

“Through her, I discovered my love for getting lost in fictional settings alongside multi-layered characters. Till this day, my all-time favourite book is Maru written by Bessie Head.

We read the book when I was in Grade 10, in fact, I still have the book (with all the notes I made as a teenager), and I read it annually.”

READ MORE: Why you should read with your child

Gontyeleni remembers how beautiful her teacher would read to them, from the way she brought the characters to life, to the way she analysed the author’s writing style and unpacked the unseen meaning of a text.

“She ignited my love for reading, and this is the same passion I am trying to instil in my scholars today,” she says.


Being organised

She also taught her about the importance of being organised.

“Her desk and shelves were tidy, her board was sectioned, and her handwriting was neat. Now that I am a teacher, I understand the importance of keeping my classroom clean and finishing my lesson plans on time,” she says.

This vital skill has helped her to be organised in her career and professional life.

“It is my responsibility to model certain behaviours for scholars for them to form positive habits,” she says.


Your passion always finds a way to speak for itself. 

Lastly, one of the greatest lessons she learned was to let your passion speak for itself.

“Teaching is not for everyone, but when you do come across someone who is genuinely in love with this profession, you will know- they do not have to tell you,” Gontyeleni says.

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